Because of their size, the first question potential parents ask breeders is how much to feed a Great Dane puppy? Good question. But possibly not the whole question they need to ask. The question really is how much to feed a Great Dane puppy and what’s an appropriate diet?
Great Danes need a great deal of care taken over their diet. Unless your fortunate and raised a Great Dane before, it can be a genuine concern and worry for new pet parents.
Great Danes grow exceptionally quickly. I have known them to more than double their weight between 4 to 6 weeks. And they don’t stop growing until they reach 2 to 3 years of age. The massive weight gain they experience slows down around 7 months old.
With that typical growth and weight gain, what should a pet parent feed a Great Dane puppy?
Just what’s the perfect diet for Great Dane puppies? There are an awful lot of misconceptions on the internet about Great Dane nutrition, in general, so in this post, we’re going to talk about Great Dane nutrition and what you should and shouldn’t be feeding your puppy.
Feeding Great Dane Puppies
The challenge when you’re feeding your Great Dane puppy is avoiding developmental orthopedic diseases (DOD). To accomplish this, you must feed them a balanced diet of the correct nutritional amounts.
Because of their phenomenal growth and the size, they reach on maturity it leaves them wide open to diseases such as hypertrophic osteodystrophy (HOD), panosteitis (Pano) osteochondritis dissecans (OCD), knuckling over and bowing of the front legs. Crucially to preventing these diseases is their diet.
Starting A Great Dane Puppy’s Diet
Once they’re weaned off, the mother’s milk they need to be started on a large/giant breed puppy kibble, unless you plan to feed a raw diet. Great Dane puppies are always hungry. So it’s important not to feed them over large portions. Divide their daily ration into 3, even meals. Dane puppies need a low calcium diet. It’s unnecessary to feed supplements at all. Remember to keep the phosphorus/calcium ratio to 1/1.
The correct Protein amount is another essential dietary ingredient when you’re feeding your Great Dane. Too much and it’s wasted, so try to achieve the right balance. Around 23-25% should be about right. Protein should come from high-quality meat products and should be from any of these, chicken, fish, beef, or lamb. We suggest the amount of fat in their diets to account for only 15% maximum.
You might believe you are doing the best thing for your Dane by feeding a diet that’s very high in protein, but it’s the wrong way.
The Dane puppy needs strong and steady growth and not a diet that promotes growth spurts. Usually, when you pick up your puppy to take him home, the breeder will include some food they have been feeding him. It makes perfect sense to continue with that unless you plan on changing his diet entirely.
Great Dane Bloat Issues
More Great Danes die younger than they should because of bloat. It sounds an innocuous illness, but it really isn’t. At least where Danes are concerned.
They think free-feeding Great Danes to be one of the principal causes of bloating. Mixing feeding times with activity is seen as a trigger for the disease. To prevent this from happening always let the dog rest for at least an hour, after mealtimes.
Great Danes are picky eaters. It might be of some concern to you if they eat their food one day, but won’t touch it the next. If there are no noticeable signs of any illness. For example, vomiting or diarrhea, then just put it down to a Great Dane being a Great Dane.
Remove the uneaten food, though. Don’t leave it there for him to eat “when he feels like it”. Strict meal times are a good habit to get into. The very last thing you must do is overfeed a Great Dane puppy. As we mentioned earlier, this can lead to developmental orthopedic diseases.
Feeding A Great Dane A Raw Diet
The raw food diet for dogs known as B.A.R.F. (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) was an idea by Dr Ian Billinghurst. The principle of B.A.R.F. is simply to feed dogs a diet made up of meats and greens, fresh, and uncooked, which is primarily what dogs grew to eat.
Many companies have since sprung up, offering pre-prepared and balanced raw food. Unless you’re happy to prepare this kind of diet yourself, then you would need to use one of these companies.
However, there are two major risks associated with this kind of diet. First, there have been many cases of raw meat contamination, leading to poisoning through listeria and salmonella bacteria. Second, if the diet is not formulated properly, then a dog eating what amounts to an unbalanced diet will have serious issues with health.
Great Dane Puppy Diet Tips
- Feed only high-quality ingredients from the food you choose.
- Only feed kibble containing 350-400 calories per cup (if you choose to feed kibble).
- They source the main Protein through quality meat products.
- Secondary protein is also a quality meat product.
- Ideally, protein should account for 23-25% of the diet.
- Fat content should be on average 15%.
- Calcium levels are best kept to 1%.
- Phosphorus levels are also best kept to 1%.
- Essential fatty acids, probiotics, plus trace minerals.
- Don’t feed extra calcium.
- Don’t let them free feed and overeat. Make sure you can feel each individual rib.
- Invest in a platform that raises their dish off the floor. One that can you can extend as they grow taller.
Great Danes are an incredible dog. They are loving and very family-oriented. They are the biggest lap dog you’ll find on the planet.
While they need some special care, it’s worth it to be the parent of such a wonderful animal.
They depend 100% on their parents to feed them the best possible diet for their needs. And knowing how much to feed a Great Dane puppy is crucial information to deliver them the diet they deserve.